Never Give Up- Alumni Spotlight on Zach Gretsch

EC Alumnus Zach Gretsch (’15) tore his ACL three times while playing sports in high school and college. For most athletes, this would be discouraging but Zach discovered his true passion while recovering from his first ACL injury…physical therapy.

With a plan in place, Zach attended Emmanuel College on a Baseball scholarship and majored in Kinesiology with a Pre-Physical Therapy concentration. It was at Emmanuel where Zach believes he was prepared to go to Physical Therapy school through the hands-on training and encouragement he received from professors.

“Dr. (Richard) Reiselt and Dr. (Scott) Bryan got me on the right track and always encouraged me to go for Physical Therapy if it was my dream and prepared me the best way possible,” Zach said. “They knew how to involve me in their class, they knew how to ask questions that made you put extra thought into your answer.”

After graduation, Zach set his sights on Armstrong State University in Savannah, Ga. and was accepted last September to begin the Doctorate program in Summer 2017.

While waiting to begin classes, Zach gained experience working full-time at St. Mary’s Sacred Heart Hospital in Lavonia, Ga. with the physical therapist, Reid Lawson.

“I worked at St. Mary’s in two different atmospheres, out-patient, and in-patient,” Zach said. “I did in-patient work with people that are admitted to the hospital, did a little bit of wound care, and worked with stroke patients as well. During my last few months, I worked more outpatient rehab, doing a wide variety of things, orthopedics, knee replacements, shoulder replacements the list goes on. What I enjoyed the most about St. Mary’s is that you’re really getting a different experience every day that you come in. There’s always something different that Reid has to show me with a patient, which has really prepared me for Physical Therapy school.”

The acceptance process to Armstrong State was a rigorous one.

“I had to take the GRE a few times to qualify for their scores,” Zach said. “I had a 4-hour long interview at Armstrong with six different professors, critical thinking questions, and a writing section.”

Zach’s advice for students looking to pursue Physical Therapy? Don’t give up on your dream.

“Don’t lose sight of your dream,” he said. “If you want to be a Physical Therapist, you’ve got to commit to it. I took the GRE a few times, but I never gave up. I kept praying and talking to professors, like Dr. Bryan who kept encouraging me.”